I love everything about arancini (Italian rice balls). I can remember having them at Sunday dinner and what a treat they were to have. My Dad use to make these with meat and peas, he loved his peas, but I don’t particulary care for the traditional Italian recipe. I am happy with simple, stuff it with some good mozzerella and Pecorino Romano cheese some fresh parsley and it is pure comfort food.
I love hazelnuts and for a coating for fish and chicken as crushed hazelnuts are so buttery and so yummy, so to change up my simple but delicious arancini which I always make for the holidays, I decided to use this to make my dish even more festive and special and I truly think this hit the mark.
I hope you give this one a try. It is perfect as an appetizer, as I usually serve them or even as a side with pasta. There is something about the combination that is just so good for the soul, Italian or otherwise.
Hazelnut Crusted Arancini
A nice change of pace from the traditional version of an Italian favorite, that's simple to make, and oh so satisfying. Pure Italian soul food!
- If you don’t want to use or can’t find abboiro rice, you can use Orzo pasta. I have made arancini many times without it and no one is the wiser, and my family loves rice balls! Just make 2 cups of orzo, according to package directions, drain, and use the same way you would the rice.
Hazelnuts are so delish, but need to be removed of their dark outer shells, the best way to do this is to boil 2 cups of water in a large pot, when boiling add three Tbsp. of baking soda, boil for about 10 min. water will be black, that’s ok, drain with slotted spoon and immediately plunge hazelnuts into an ice bath, and begin to rub off the skin. Work a few at a time and set aside on paper towel lined plate to dry. This is much easier then letting the skin steam off in the oven as rubbing them in the cold water is what gets them to release the skin. Toast at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, shaking the pan periodically to evenly toast nuts.
Credit: CrazySexySavor.com/Susan Mangieri-Maurath
- 1 1/2 cups of aborrio rice
- 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1 tbsp. chopped parsely
- 1/3 cup of grated Pecarino Romano cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup of chopped hazelnuts
- 1 1/2 cups of panko breadcrumbs
- 3/4 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste
For the rice
- In a large saucepan add the chicken stock bring to boil, add to the rice. Simmer uncovered for 20 min. or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked.
- When rice is cooked, line a sheet pan with foil, layer rice to dry on foil about 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
For the Arancini
- In a large bowl add the rice, garlic, parsley, cheeses, and egg combine well. In a medium bowl beat the eggs. I don’t dredge in flour or dip in egg then breadcrumb, I have used my method with great success and feel the added step is neglible in it’s difference with regards to frying. I do refrigerate mine for several hours, but it doesn’t affect taste or frying doing it this way. Add breadrumbs and chopped hazelnuts to another bowl and set aside.
- Roll arancini with slightly wet hands to prevent sticking, I like to roll mine smaller to be more accessible as an appetizer but you can make these larger if you prefer. Place rolled balls on plate, complete using up all of the rice. Take a rice ball and making sure it is compacted, roll in breadcrumb and hazelnut mizture. Coat well. Compact once again, and roll again. Set aside on parchment lined baking sheet if you have the room in your fridge, or a plate. Let sit, covered in plastic wrap for a good two hours or overnight.
- In a large frying pan, heat EVOO, about an 1 1/2 inches. Heat over medium high heat, drop a few rice balls into fry in oil, don’t overcrowd and lower heat if they brown too quickly. It is important to keep the arancini from burning by moving the arancini to brown evenly on all sides. Set a rack on a sheet pan, let cooked rice balls drain, for a minute or two then move to serving platter. Sprinkle hot arancini with more Pecorino Romano cheese and serve immediately with your favorite homemade marinara or sauce if desired. Devour!